Depressed by the lack of action on Climate Change? Start making changes at home! Tina Lawlor Mottram
In 2007 I wrote this piece Manifesto for Planet Earth. Many of us have been recycling for years, doing our bit, flying less, reducing consumption of meat and poultry but recent statistics are showing that politicians and global companies are not taking action fast enough. These are my suggestions for a way to start making a difference and feeling slightly better with some great LinkedIn heroes and links to help you.
Like many other people concerned about the loss of biodiversity, and the obvious changes to our climate I have done the petitions, the campaigning and the protests. I am an avid recycler, I do not fly frequently, and I cycle, but most important for me, I grow my own food. This allows me to breathe at least, knowing that the lack of inaction or the slow response from big companies and those in power is not MY response. I am impressed by Stephen Fern, aiming to gather together minds to be a force for change with his ARK project. Even if I know my actions will not save the world, at the very least, these are small steps towards greening where I live, and I am certainly enjoying my food a lot more.
Where to start
1. Grow some food
This can be as simple as growing a few tomatoes in your garden, in a pot, on your urban balcony, or on an allotment. Easy crops to start are potatoes, which can even be grown in a bag and herbs. As you gain confidence you can have some crops growing in winter too – overwinter herbs and lettuce in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill. I have written multiple articles about how to start growing food. See an article I wrote for VegPlotter article here, which takes the mystery out of crop rotation too. Start a vegetable garden; Crop rotation
2. Have some wildlife friendly spaces in your life
If you are at work in an office, go outdoors at some stage even if just for 15 minutes to walk. research shows that walking with its changing viewpoint combined with physical activity will boost your mood. You may notice spring leaves or blooms or spot a butterfly or bird as you walk. Make it a part of your life. Try getting a few plants in your office space. watering them also brings a feeling of being connected with nature. Try walking or cycling to work or taking a bus or train. It cuts down on carbon, and aids your general health. Feeling brave? Start composting waste at work. It could be as simple as asking your boss if there are facilities for this. If there are none, I used to save all the tea bags and take them home but another alternative is to feed tea to plants at work or set up a scheme for green waste collection. Contact the recycling department of the council in the area were you work and get some ideas. See number 3 for an example. Installing a water butt is another great idea to save water costs, as well as giving you rainwater for plants in times of hose pipe bans. Richard at VegPlotter has great advice on watering here. How much water do vegetables need?
3. Compost your green waste
I have referred to myself jokingly as Queen of the Compost heap for many years because as a mother, it was hard to think of food not being eaten and I decided when I got my garden to use it to recycle my waste. Years later, my own child would never dream of dumping “anything that grows” waste as she used to explain to visitors when they asked “Can this go in the compost bin?”. It takes so little to do. Have a caddy or a container in the kitchen and add coffee grounds, tea bags and potato peelings and see how little actually remains to go into the waste bin. Add apple cores, range peels and anything that grows. Many government buildings try to organise compost collections.
Composting Heroes on LinkedIn include The Waste Lab in Dubai and Laura Huessein, whose progress in this area has been rapid and is making a visible difference where she lives.
#Composting #soilhealth @thewastelab
4. Look at your methods of transport.
Do you drive? If so, can you car-share? Is public transport possible? Can you walk or cycle? Scooters are another possibility. Rain gear is essential of course in the UK but it is doable. If you have children, walk with them to school before going to work. This builds up the habit of walking for short distances long-term.
Last year I built up my daily walk for nothing to a few steps and now I manage at least 2 miles every day. My first hero in this section has to be my husband who ferried me around after a major accident in 2022, when I was confined to a wheelchair for a very long time. Without complaint, he packed up the wheelchair taking me to multiple hospital appointments and also accompanying me on a daily walk. Perhaps I should say “stumble” here because going from a wheelchair to boots, to gradually using a stick to weight bear on both legs led me to an understanding of just some of the difficulties faced by those unable to travel on two legs. I could not take buses because I could not get on and I was scared.
My second hero in this section must be Isaac Harvey MBE, whose posts cheered me up when I could not even stand. Living vicariously through another person getting around London on wheels and with much humour meant I could assess whether it would be worth trying for me. #disabilityawareeness #wheelchair.
5. Try to reduce plastic usage in your life.
This means simple steps such as carrying a reusable shopping bag with you at all times and refusing the single use bag at supermarkets. This also means no purchasing of single use bottles, carrying around your own water bottle and refilling it where possible. Gradually reduce the packaging in your shopping and try to reuse any containers you buy regularly. Glass bottles are easily recycled and glass jars can be used as containers, to hold any jam you make from fruit you grow, as vases for flowers.
It is not much but it is a start and you will notice how reluctant you become to buy any over-packaged products. I write to the manufacturers to tell them it makes their produce less acceptable and there are folk who remove all packaging at the till to make this point.
Reuse boxes on your garden as mulches, reuse envelopes by sticking a new address over the top and you save money too.
It really helps me to think I am doing something not just passively shouting at the radio at somebody green-washing or misleading the public about Climate Change. Every small action changes the environment you live in slightly, and composting will improve your soil your carbon footprint and the taste of your food. Looking after indoor or outdoor plants help your health and well-being too.